MUMC Surgeon Removes Spleen Using Advanced SILS Technique

(August 5, 2009) - A surgeon at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) has performed the region's first "scarless" splenectomy (spleen removal).

Surgeon Christopher Senkowski, M.D., removed a patient's spleen through an advanced technique known as Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS). Only a handful of surgeons worldwide are able to perform complex spleen removal with SILS.

"Removing the spleen via a single one-inch incision represents a great stride forward for patient comfort and ability to return to normal activity. In the past, this surgery required a large incision or multiple small incisions. We can now perform this major operation safely and successfully with a single incision, and the patient can go home after just 24 hours in the hospital," said Senkowski.

Senkowski began using the SILS technique for gallbladder removal a year ago. He removes the gallbladder through a one-inch incision hidden within the belly button -- a virtually invisible scar. Senkowski has performed more than 100 gallbladder operations with SILS, and recently used it for the more complicated spleen removal.

The SILS approach has an excellent safety and outcomes record. In southeast Georgia, MUMC is the only hospital offering SILS. At MUMC, the SILS technique has also been used successfully for appendix, colon, and adrenal gland removal. Senkowski has more than 15 years of experience performing advanced laparoscopic surgery. He is a pioneer in the use of laparoscopic approaches for esophageal resection, pancreatic resection, gallbladder removal, and liver resection.

In addition, Senkowski is widely published and highly respected in the field of advanced laparoscopic surgery. He serves on a national committee of the Society for American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), the dominant surgical society for minimally invasive surgery. He also works with the American College of Surgeons as an advisor to the committee that helps assess new procedures. He practices at ACI - Surgical Associates.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center.